Golfers' Choice: Top 25 Course Layouts

Favorite course designs in the U.S. you can play, according to our community of golf course reviewers throughout the year.
A renovation has rejuvenated the Mid Pines Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Pictured is the first hole.

The layout and design of a golf course is what makes the game so great and worth traveling for. There are an infinite number of ways to route a course across all sorts of landscape earth provides.

In 2019, our community of golf course reviewers rated "course layout" as one of six optional subcategories on the review form. "Course layout" can mean many different things depending on the golfer. For a beginner, they might be more interested in forward tees and accessible greens. Better players might be more interested in the nuances of golf course architecture. To others, the routing and flow of a course trumps all else.

All ages and handicaps can review courses on Golf Advisor, so these courses selected below, based on their Course Layout star-rating averages in 2019, provide a glimpse of courses that have been designed, routed and set up properly for a wide range of abilities and styles.

Have a favorite course layout in your town or amongst your travels? Be sure to tell us in a course review. Click here to review a golf course.

  1. Atunyote Golf Club at Turning Stone Resort

    Verona, N.Y. | Read reviews
    Architect: Tom Fazio
    What they're saying: "Beautiful Fazio design. Plenty of room to hit the ball but some great green complexes and terrific bunkering. Conditions were like a private club." - iVoZ8gAJwybZLArluXA8

  2. Pebble Beach Golf Links

    Pebble Beach, Calif. | Read reviews
    Architect: Jack Neville, Chandler Egan
    What they're saying: "The views are outstanding. The course architecture is totally original, yet classic. If you have the opportunity to play it, just do it. Enjoy the best 6,900 yard walk you'll ever take." - AdmiralChet

  3. Red Course at Streamsong Resort

    Fort Meade, Fla. | Read reviews | GolfPass Members save
    Architect: Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw
    What they're saying: "As with a links course, there are tons of slopes, undulations, mounds and humps everywhere (greens, fairways, etc.) There terrain is very natural and amazing. The bunkers are a true challenge and are everywhere." - RettJ, Local Golf Advisor

  4. Aviara Golf Club

    Carlsbad, Calif. | Read reviews
    Architect: Arnold Palmer
    What they're saying: "A rare Palmer design near the coast. This layout contains many of the things I like about courses. Some forced carries but nothing outrageous. Challenging w/o being ridiculous. Constantly up/down rolling hills, HUGE green complexes, numerous well placed, beautiful plants/water features and many strategically placed large bunkers." - nickesquire, Local Golf Advisor

  5. Grey Hawk Golf Club

    Lagrange, Ohio | Read reviews
    Architect: Robert Von Hagge, Smelek and Baril
    What they're saying: "The course layout was one of my favorites I’ve ever been around. Challenging as heck at times and just had a great feel all the way through." - Richie1356725

  6. Eagle Eye Golf Club

    Bath, Mich. | Read reviews
    Architect: Chris Lutzke
    What they're saying: " beautiful and scenic course, in pristine condition. Every hole has its own unique touch and challenge. You may think of 17, the island green as the signature hole, but I assure you there are multiple holes that could be considered signature." - hedgerc

  7. Cedar River at Shanty Creek Resorts

    Bellaire, Mich. | Read reviews
    Architect: Tom Weiskopf
    What they're saying: "One of my favorite courses....this course never gets old. Wonderful Weiskopf design and if you play this course a few times you really get to know the rolls bounces and speed slots." - HOTSPOTTS, Local Golf Advisor

  8. Emerald Course at Wailea Golf Club

    Wailea, Hawaii | Read reviews
    Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
    What they're saying: "I absolutely loved this course and it is set up for scoring and fun, take what the course gives you and you will have the time of your life." -TonyDinovo

  9. TPC Deere Run

    Silvis, Ill. | Read reviews
    Architect: D.A. Weibring
    What they're saying: "Course was amazing, awesome layout & conditions were top of the line. The bunkers were magnificent, like playing on a beach in the Caribbean." - TSmitty2

  10. Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club

    Southern Pines, N.C. | Read reviews
    Architect: Donald Ross
    What they're saying: "Lots of false fronts and most greens were elevated and 'turtle-backed.' Loved the southern charm of the course as well as the layout and would definitely come back!" - Bozidar

  11. Gold Course at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club

    Williamsburg, Va. | Read reviews
    Architect: Robert Trent Jones Sr.
    What they're saying: "The layout is every bit as good as you’ve heard ... More than the strategy involved in scoring on them, each hole is beautifully presented. This is one of the most photogenic courses I’ve ever played." - Back9Ben, Local Golf Advisor

  12. Crosswater Course at Sunriver Resort

    Sunriver, Ore. | Read reviews
    Architect: Bob Cupp
    What they're saying: "You cross the Deschutes River on over half the holes with a backdrop of Mount Bachelor and Pulina Peak. The beauty of this course is spectacular, and the golf course design is as good as you will find." - cjohnson06

  13. StoneCrest Golf Course

    Prestonburg, Ky. | Read reviews
    Architect: Chris Chrissman & Jack Sykes
    What they're saying: "Overall, great track with unbelievable views and changes in elevation." - Derek7883862

  14. FarmLinks at Pursell Farms

    Sylacauga, Ala. | Read reviews
    Architect: Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry
    What they're saying: "Top Notch facility. Staff, conditions, and layout are great. Nice change of pace from RTJ Trail with generous fairways and receptive greens." - ja0713

  15. The Fortress Golf Course

    Frankenmuth, Mich. | Read reviews
    Architect: Dick Nugent, Jerry Matthews
    What they're saying: "This course is real gem. Position golf is more important that bomb and chase. Course is a mix of links style and tree lined holes, if you keep it in the fairway it is really enjoyable. - michaelsop

  16. Yocha Dehe at Cache Creek Casino Resort

    Brooks, Calif. | Read reviews
    Architect: Brad Bell
    What they're saying: "If Yocha Dehe isn't the best daily fee golf course in Northern California for +/- $100 I don't know what is. I've played Yocha Dehe 10 times this year and it has always been in great shape.While it is fair and playable it is also tough with hazards placed in places good players hit the ball." - rmkyhn

  17. Nicklaus Course at Pinehills Golf Club

    Plymouth, Mass. | Read reviews
    Architect: Jack Nicklaus Jr.
    What they're saying: "This is truly a fun course to play and what a setting we loved it. If you have a chance to play this course go for it truly special." - GolfPlaisir

  18. Atlantic City Country Club

    Northfield, N.J. | Read reviews
    Architect: William S. Flynn, Willie Park Jr.
    What they're saying: "The course itself is a classic layout with tricky undulating greens mixed with a dose of British links golf along the marsh. It’s brutally tough when the winds kick up off the ocean, but the course is designed to welcome a ground game approaching the greens." - ddotson2

  19. Chariot Run

    Laconia, Ind. | Read reviews
    Architect: Bill Bergin
    What they're saying: "Chariot Run simply put is the finest course I have played in the state of Indiana and rivals the best courses I have ever played. The greens roll as true as anything i have ever played, the bunkers are in tip-top shape, and the layout is spectacular." - HoosierHacker89

  20. Rams Hill Golf Club

    Borrego Springs, Calif. | Read reviews | GolfPass Members save
    Architect: Tom Fazio
    What they're saying: "This course is simply incredible. I love smart, fun courses and that's the heart of Rams Hill ... this course trades ocean views for mountain views, and is as balanced a course for challenge/fun as you will find." - Ogle0437

  21. GreyStone Golf Club

    Dickson, Tenn. | Read reviews
    Architect: Mark McCumber, Mike Beebe
    What they're saying: "This course was great! Excellent layout with beautiful views! The hazards make you think on every tee shot which is something I like a lot." - Jcarroll9889

  22. Wild Rock Golf Club

    Wisconsin Dells, Wisc. | Read reviews
    Architect: Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry
    What they're saying: "This is the type of place you need local knowledge on where to leave shots and you'll gain back 5 or so shots the 2nd time you play it." - theburyman

  23. Quintero Golf Club

    Peoria, Ariz. | Read reviews
    Architect: Rees Jones
    What they're saying: "Quintero is always a must play when in the Phoenix area. The layout is spectacular, the course is very peaceful and the staff is fantastic. The carts come fully equipped with GPS ... The holes are varied and fun, with lots of tee box options for all players." - GolfLeo, Local Golf Advisor

  24. Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club

    Mountain Top, Pa. | Read reviews
    Architect: Brian Ault
    What they're saying: "The course bunkering is beautiful and the course winds through the woods to each perfectly framed private hole. The views on the last holes of the Blue 9 are spectacular." - bradco

  25. South Course at Reserve Vineyards Golf Club

    Aloha, Ore. | Read reviews
    Architect: John Fought
    What they're saying: "The course does not play long however you do have to be careful because often times you do not have a level lie and you will need to know how to play the ball below or above your feet. When the wind comes up playing the ball on approach shots can be tricky." - Earl8587874

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Golfers' Choice: Top 25 Course Layouts